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30 March 2013 / leggypeggy

The overwhelming magic of Australia’s Uluru

Uluru

Uluru

Uluru sunset

Uluru sunset

Uluru sunset

IMG_5662

Uluru sunset

Uluru is 100 million years old—give or take a couple of mil. Being there verges on a spiritual experience. In fact, for the Anangu people it is a sacred and spiritual experience.

I adore this huge iconic rock, but it’s always been blisteringly hot when I’m there. In February 2000 it was 45°C, in December 2009 it was close to 40°C and last month, February 2013, it shot to 46°C on one of the days we were there.

But the high temperatures have never diminished my love for this magnificent monolith that seems to be marooned in the middle of Australia’s Red Centre. Scientists can’t be sure, but they think at least two-thirds of the rock is below ground, making it a desert iceberg. There is a scientific estimate that the bit of rock that is exposed weighs 285 billion tons.

Most tourists are there to ‘experience’ the rock at sunrise and sunset. That’s when this ginormous block of sandstone flashes from pink to mauve to gold to red.

Some days are better than others. Of the three times I’ve been lucky enough to be at Uluru for sunrise and sunset, only two have been spectacular. That said, I’m still lucky and pleased that I can hop in a car anytime I want and drive there for another look (even if it is a 7000-kilometre return trip).

I’ve never climbed the rock, even though it’s allowed when weather permits or it is not being used for cultural activities.

I might have climbed in 2000, before the Anangu people made it so very clear that they didn’t want people to climb at all. But it was too hot and we didn’t have great walking shoes or enough water, so we walked around it instead.

It was an unplanned choice, but I’m really glad it worked out that way. I will never climb the rock and have signed a commitment to that effect. Uluru’s traditional owners say ‘You shouldn’t climb. It’s not the real thing about this place.’

In fact, they cite cultural, environmental and safety issues as main reason not to climb. In recent years, 36 people have died trying to climb the rock. This year, the climb was closed because of ‘summer’ but that really meant the extreme temperatures.

You’re not supposed to take pieces of rock away from the formation either, but plenty of people do. Aboriginal lore says that if you take some, you will be cursed and suffer misfortune.

No idea whether that’s true or not, but the cultural centre (where photos aren’t allowed) has a bulging binder of letters from people who are returning bits of rock they took on a previous visit. The details of misfortune in some letters really are scary.

Anyway, here are some views of sunset at Uluru. You can also see the posts on the Mala Walk, as well as my walk around the entire base of Uluru.

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7 Comments

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  1. Joanne T Ferguson / Mar 31 2013 11:22 am

    A truly unique experience and I FEEL like I have been through your photo and words! Thank you! WHOO HOO!

    Like

    • leggypeggy / Mar 31 2013 12:25 pm

      Thanks Joanne. It’s my pleasure and good fortune to be able to share these adventures.

      Like

  2. jeanleesworld / Mar 29 2016 1:03 pm

    Such vibrant colors. This is aMAZing. Of all the lands you’ve trod, has there been a particular place that was nearly impossible to leave?

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Apr 12 2016 5:29 am

      Oh gosh Jean, we’ve seen so many wonderful sights. Each one has had its own special charm, just like people. Maybe someday I’ll be able to compile a top 10 list.

      Liked by 1 person

      • jeanleesworld / Apr 12 2016 11:17 pm

        That would be neat! I know my ability to travel will be extremely limited for some time, so it’s nice to have some recommendations so that when I DO get to travel, I make it count.

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / Apr 14 2016 6:28 am

        I’ll try to get started on that list.

        Like

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